The Importance of Advanced Weather Analytics for Vegetation Management

It goes without saying, but anything capable of burning is subject to becoming fuel for a fire. While that might not mean much for backyard fire pit enthusiasts who are happy to throw on another oak log as the temperature dips on a cool winter night, it can be devastating in large areas thick with overgrown vegetation. We can’t say for certain how many of the nearly 60,000 wildfires that occurred in 2021 happened or worsened due to overgrown vegetation, but it’s safe to say it’s a problem. However, wildfires aren’t the only unplanned occurrence affected by overgrown vegetation. 

High winds, tornadoes, hurricanes and other perilous weather patterns can cause trees and branches to fall. This impacts millions of people. In fact, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) refers to tree contact with transmission lines as a leading cause of electric power outages and a common cause of past regional blackouts.” FERC goes on to say that a similar event was the genesis of the August 2003 blackout. This event resulted in some 50 million people in the U.S. and Canada losing power. 

To help minimize the potential of fire, adverse weather and overgrown vegetation causing a power outage, many utilities have become more proactive in their efforts with advanced analytics.


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Why Locating Underground Utilities Matters, And How UPA Can Help

Once utility lines moved from overhead to underground, service reliability improved markedly. While moving and locating utilities underground helped to ensure continuity, it also ushered in additional layers of complexity and challenges.  Homeowners, landscapers, construction companies, and utility companies themselves no longer have a line of sight on these critical lines.  This means one unlucky nudge of a shovel could result in a severed line and interrupted service.

The only way to safely and smartly proceed with a project that involves digging is to locate all underground utilities before breaking any ground at all.  That’s precisely why Utility Partners of America (UPA) created its Private Locating Division. Our goal is to help utilities and contractors identify buried utility infrastructure that could be disrupted by an upcoming excavation.

Here are the top reasons underscoring the importance of properly locating utilities before digging and more information on UPA’s private locating services.


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Five Must-Haves for Your Winter Emergency Kit

The state of Texas made headlines in February 2021 when it experienced a catastrophic infrastructure failure. Due to a series of severe winter storms that swept across the state, millions of homes and businesses lost power. The five safety tools are essential to ensure residents don’t have to battle food and water shortages.

It’s not uncommon for winter storms to have safety implications and wreak havoc on infrastructure to some degree. Weather and emergency management experts recommend curating a winter emergency kit if living in an area where a winter storm is possible. Not sure what to include? We’re here to help with these five must-haves.


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Top Five Tips for Staying Safe in the Summer Heat

There are some inherent risks that come with serving as a field technician for a utility company. One of the worst potential risks is heat and extreme summer temperatures. According to, about 175 Americans die each year from exposure to extreme heat. While that number may not seem like a lot, it  doesn’t account for the countless others who survive a heat stroke. Or those that endure the uncomfortable symptoms of heat exhaustion or heat cramps. Fortunately for people who spend hours outside each day, there are a variety of preventive things that can be done to reduce the risks. To help keep your staff safe, we encourage you to share these five tips for staying safe in the summer heat.


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Why AMI Meter Technology Makes Sense for Your Utility

Anyone who has spent time in the utility industry understands smart technology’s impact on processes and operations. In the technology realm, “smart” is an acronym for “Self-Monitoring, Analysis, and Reporting Technology” (SMART). Smart tech is known for driving innovation and ease for its users.

Widely considered the foundation of smart technology for utilities, advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) has been steadily gaining momentum for years. In fact, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), there were nearly 103 million electric utility AMI installations as of 2020. These numbers don’t account for statistics from the last two years, nor those related to natural gas or water meters, which the EIA does not publish. So, why push for this advanced technology? Today, we’ll review some of the top advantages and why so many utilities are making the move to AMI meter technology.

Related: Utility Customer Satisfaction Improves With Tech


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Keep Employees Safe: Hurricane Preparation Tips

For residents in coastal states like Florida, Texas, and Louisiana (and even some farther up the Eastern seaboard) June 1 is a date that’s often circled on the calendar. Why June 1? It’s the start of the Atlantic hurricane season. While the thought of living through hurricane season can be scary, preparation is the best way to reduce risk.

Putting emphasis on hurricane season safety and preparation is imperative with peak hurricane season around the corner. The time is now to focus on safety and awareness. If your utility could use a refresher stormy weather preparation, you might consider incorporating a few of the tips we’ve included below. (more…)

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Stay Safe from Lightning This Summer with These Top Tips

It’s not every day that five simple words can save a life. But as the summer storms start to roll in, these five just might: When thunder roars, go indoors! This catchy slogan is used to bring awareness to the dangers of lightning, which is an often-overlooked weather-related occurrence. Because hurricanes, tornadoes, and flooding get the bulk of the headlines, few people realize that the U.S. has averaged nearly 50 reported lightning fatalities each year over the past 30+ years. To complicate matters further, about 10% of people struck by lightning are killed. Meaning hundreds of others are left with debilitating injuries.

Though the statistics sound scary, there are plenty of ways to protect yourself and your employees from the 25 million cloud-to-ground lightning strikes that occur across the country each year. We’ve put together a few tips that we think do the best job of educating utility workers about the dangers of lightning strikes. (more…)

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Material Management: Why It’s Important and How UPA Can Help

Imagine being a utility technician and showing up at a job site, ready and willing to tackle that day’s new task. Let’s say you work for a gas utility, and your next assignment is to install a series of pipes.  As you’re working, you notice that the number of pipes stacked near you won’t be enough to complete the job. Your suspicion is confirmed when your supply runs dry halfway through. You could borrow inventory from a co-worker, but they would end up shorthanded as well. So, what do you do?

While that example is obviously an oversimplification, it illustrates precisely what can happen on the job site when material management is not adequately handled. Today, we’ll explore the concept of material management. We’ll dig into the function and explain how Utility Partners of America (UPA) can ensure a smooth material management process for your utility.


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Electric Vehicles: How to Power Up Safely

The number of electric vehicles (EV) purchases has steadily risen, led by growing interest in environmentally-conscious consumerism. In fact, more than 10 million EVs are on the road today, signifying a good start toward the vaunted “Net Zero Emissions” proposal. EVs have become a popular choice for commercial fleets, as well.

As part of the EV100 initiative, some of the biggest companies in the world have committed to more than 5.5 million EVs by the end of 2030. There are commitments for more than 2 million corporate and leased vehicles from U.S.-based EV100 companies alone. 32,000 are already in operation. With an emphasis on transitioning, the importance of safely using and charging these automobiles can’t be understated. Here’s a quick look at some of the dos and don’ts of safe EV charging.


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